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A Millennial's Guide to Saving for Retirement

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Anne is in the second year of her career. Matt just finished paying off his student loans. Next year they're getting married and moving into a new home. They both come from big families and anticipate adding to their own in the next few years.

Do you know a couple like Anne and Matt? Are you Anne or Matt? With all these major life events and celebrations on the horizon, it can be difficult to consider something as far off as retirement – much less save for it.

The Annes and Matts of the world aren't alone. Only two-thirds of American workers are saving for retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. And those who are, aren't putting enough away.

In the midst of living your life, here are four ways to ensure your retirement savings don't get away from you.

1. Student loans paid off? Funnel more toward your retirement.

If Matt has been allotting several hundred dollars each month to his student loans, now he could redirect that income toward a retirement savings vehicle. Even if he takes just half of that "extra" money and invests it, he'll be in a much better position. A few years down the road, if Matt and Anne send their children to daycare, the same idea could apply. Once they're finished with tuition payments, they could invest the "extra" money.

2. Make a "bonus" payment

If Anne meets her sales goals and is awarded a bonus, or Matt receives a holiday bonus every year, they should consider putting that amount into their retirement savings. Since that money isn't promised or guaranteed, they won't miss it as much.

3. Determine what you want now versus what you want most 

Matt likes to drive a new car every four to five years. But is that as important to him as being able to retire at a certain age? Matt and Anne need to review their spending habits now and their dreams for the future. Then they can determine how to align their behavior. Our retirement calculator can help. If it's truly important for their family that Matt retires by a certain age, perhaps he could drive one car for a longer time or cut back in other areas. That way, more money would be available to make that bigger dream a reality.

4. You can't do it alone. Ask for help. 

Anne and Matt are experts in a lot of areas, but they're not licensed financial advisors. Collaborating with one who understands their needs and goals will help the soon-to-be-married couple get on the same page about their finances. The days are long but the years are short, as older generations will – and often do – remind the younger ones. By creating a specific plan for their family, Matt and Anne will be ready to make their retirement goals a reality when that day comes.

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